Degree Concentrations

Recognizing the rich variety of gifts and interests students bring to the task of theological education, Gettysburg Seminary offers four concentrations that maximize the potential for students to grow in their gifts for ministry. These concentrations complement the standard curriculum of the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies, or Master of Arts in Religion degrees. The four concentrations are:

Each area of concentrated study includes six courses. These courses can be enhanced through immersion placements and contextual education experiences. Learning objectives can also be met through courses offered through our learning partners in the Washington Theological Consortium and the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries. These Concentrations enable students to take an active role in directing their learning objectives and deepening their gifts for ministry.

Why choose a Concentration?

Gettysburg Seminary prepares leaders who can and do serve anywhere in the church and around the world. Yet concentrations provide focused study experiences in a particular ministry area. Concentrations are not simply a matter of completing certain required courses. Rather, a Concentration can provide a focused theological lens through which to look at, learn, and experience all of the coursework and contextual education opportunities a degree program has to offer. Doing so can deepen one’s preparation for particular forms of ministry specifically, and enliven all study in scripture, theology and history.

When do I choose a Concentration?

Normally, a student declares a concentration at the end of the first year of study. Students select a concentration after consulting with their academic advisor and with the approval of the faculty. 

Will a Concentration limit the ways in which I can serve God and the church?

No. In fact, a Concentration can enhance the ways in which one serves through more intentional, focused learning in a particular area of ministry. At the same time, such enhanced learning does not come at the expense of the range of learning that takes place in every degree program.

Does a Concentration mean I need to take extra courses or add extra time to completing my degree?

Because the Concentration is integrated into the degree curriculum, courses taken in an area of Concentration will either fulfill core degree requirements or can be taken as electives. No additional courses or time are required for completion beyond the standard for each type of degree.

Overview of Each Degree Concentration

Youth and Young Adult Ministry

This concentration is designed to meet the growing need of congregations for leaders who are well prepared and equipped for ministry with and among youth and young adults. The Concentration provides a theological grounding for doing Youth and Young Adult ministry and offers strategies for mission and service learning that are adaptable to various contexts and social cultures.
The Youth and Young Adult Ministry Concentration takes advantage of the seminary’s learning partnerships with our Youth Ministry Certification School and Theological Education with Youth (TEY) program, as well as with area congregations, campus ministries, and outdoor ministries which provide settings for contextual learning. Students choosing this Concentration may have opportunities for Teaching Parish and Internship sites in which they can experience excellent Youth and Young Adult Ministries on the congregational level.

Theology and Public Life

Gettysburg Seminary’s unique setting, at the crossroads of history and hope, calls upon us to reflect theologically about the role of the church in public life. Not far from Seminary Ridge is Washington, D.C., an international crossroads of government, political, and economic discourse, and also a center of theological, ecumenical and interfaith diversity. The nation’s capital has become a major academic center and urban setting, affording distinctive opportunities for contextual immersion, spiritual formation, and theological reflection.  This concentration challenges students to interact, reflect, and respond in dynamic, changing contexts through immersion in this international, political, social, and ecumenical environment.
As a part of its Washington, D.C. program, the Seminary offers a Resident Scholar Program, providing a unique way to experience this concentration. Available to all full-time degree seeking students of the seminary who desire to live in the Washington, D.C. area for one or two semesters, students are able to focus their studies and immersion experiences in areas such as social ministry, public policy, ecumenical and interfaith issues, and ethics. Courses are available on the Gettysburg campus and the partner schools of the Washington Theological Consortium.

Town and Country Church Ministry

The majority of North American congregations are in town and country settings, as are almost half of the ELCA congregations. Students who make the transition out of seminary into a first call or ministry assignment often go through a process of acculturation to the habits, economy, and traditions of rural and small town places. The Concentration in Town and Country Church Ministry provides specific preparation for intentional and vital ministry in rural areas and small towns, and encourages the integration of theological knowledge into the daily practice of ministry. While focused in rural issues, the Concentration equips students to interpret ministry in a variety of contexts.
Excellent contextual education opportunities are available in rural and small town settings.  Entering students may indicate an interest in a town and country site for their Teaching Parish. There are Internships in a variety of town and country congregations, and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) centers serving rural populations. Concentration students are free to pursue field education placements in other contexts as well, and sometimes are encouraged to do so in order to broaden their training.

Religion and Media 

The ways in which people interact and develop community amidst global media culture are profoundly changing. This Religion & Media concentration explores the emerging ways in which people are living out their relationship to God and the world and each other, the ways in which people understand their role in creation and the global community, and the ways in which both individual Christians and the church witness to the gospel in the world. Religion and Meida reflects theologically on identity issues and social practices within media culture. Finally, it prepares public ministers and professional communicators to participate in communicative practices shaped by myriad forms of media. This degree concentration seeks to assist people of all faiths to reflect critically on the public expressions of their faith traditions.

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